We find out whether the Pokémon Natsumatsuri Happy Set can really make you happy.

In Japan, McDonald’s Happy Meal toys tend to be next level, thanks to the many Japanese anime studios that are keen to team up with the chain for limited-edition releases.

Now, Pokémon, one of the biggest franchises in the world, is on board for the latest McDonald’s Happy Meal toy collection, and the tie-up has created a huge buzz amongst fans around the country. Making things even better is the fact that this new collection is based around the theme of “Natsumatsuri“, or “Japanese summer festivals“, giving it a timely, Japan-exclusive flair that’s perfect for the current season.

Our reporter Ninoude Punico is a big fan of Pokémon so she wasted no time in getting her hands on every item in the current collection when it was released on 11 August. Did it really make her happy, though? Well, it’s time to find out, starting with the first item in the lineup — the Pokémon Ring Toss Game.

This is a game children play at Japanese summer festivals, so it has a nostalgic element to it that’ll warm the hearts of adults as well as children. The targets and rings weren’t as small as Ninoude had expected, so it was easy to play, and the fact that it came with two different patterns — “Fireworks” and “Festival Pikachu” — certainly made her one happy customer.

Next up, we have the Festival Pikachu Taiko, which consists of a taiko (Japanese drum) and a pair of drumsticks. The first thing our reporter noticed about this set was the image of Pikachu in a happi, or festival  coat, which made it look even cuter than usual, and the Poké Balls that had been imprinted on the ends of the drumsticks.

The attention to detail here was incredibly impressive — not only does the sound change like a real taiko, depending on whether you hit the drum in the centre or the rim, there’s a place in the back for storing the drumsticks.

▼ A tidy Ninoude is a happy Ninoude, so this was another win for our reporter.

▼ The next item in the lineup is the Poké Ball Chochin or Poké Ball Paper Lantern.

This chochin may not be made out of paper like the traditional ones you’ll see at a Japanese festival, but it does a great job of looking like one, with ridges around the Poké Ball giving it that accordian-style look. What’s even better is that it glows in the dark, and it opens at the press of a button so you can carry your favourite Pokémon inside the ball, using the sticker sheet provided.

▼ The final item in the collection is “Yo-Yo Fishing“.

This is a cute take on the goldfish fishing game seen at Japanese festivals, where players attempt to scoop goldfish out of a tank using thin, flat paper nets. Here, players get to scoop out yo-yo-shaped toys on which Pokémon are printed, using a little Pikachu fishing rod, and it can be used on a table or inside the bath.

▼ When you fill the bowl up with water, the toys float, making them slightly challenging to catch.

As she played with each little toy, Ninoude found herself smiling like a child, so it’s safe to say that these Happy Meal toys really do make you happy. This instalment of toys will only be available from 11-18 August, though, so if you’d like to try them you’ve got less than a week left to get your hands on them.

There’s a second instalment coming our way from 18-24 August, however, so there’s still plenty of happiness to come, in the shape of four new toys. And Ninoude can’t wait to try them!

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[ Read in Japanese ]